All Blacks and Chiefs tighthead prop Nepo Laulala will miss the entire rugby season after sustaining a serious knee injury in training last Friday.
Scans confirmed the 24-year-old has torn three ligaments in his right knee - the ACL, PCL and MCL.
Laulala will undergo surgery in the near future and is expected to be out of action for at least 12 months.
"It’s obviously very disappointing to have injured my knee and be unable to play for the Chiefs for a while, but I’ll be back real soon," Laulala said.
"Once I’m through surgery, I’ll be working hard to get back to full fitness as quickly as possible so I can get back out on the rugby field.
"Though I’m unable to play for a little while, I’ll be supporting the boys and doing as much as I can for the team."
Laulala was signed by the Chiefs in June last year but only joined the club at the start of 2016.
He is the younger brother of former All Blacks back Casey Laulala, and played four tests for New Zealand after making his international debut last year.
The Chiefs were dealt a double-blow with Dominic Bird suffering a fractured foot, meaning he will miss the first 10 weeks of the season.